Definition of furlough in English:



  • 1Leave of absence, especially that granted to a member of the armed services.

    ‘a civil servant home on furlough’
    [count noun] ‘a six-week furlough in Australia’
    • ‘His occasional trips to England, on furlough or for training, were when he felt most out of water.’
    • ‘I'm on furlough at the moment with a busted knee (an old friend which has been with me for the better part of a decade), but intend to resume fencing as soon as I stop hurting.’
    • ‘When the missionary is furloughing, the church assists with the spiritual nurture, care and physical needs of the missionary such as helping to locate housing while on furlough.’
    • ‘Republic Pictures hoped to make a movie with Gene Autry while he was on furlough from the Army Air Corps.’
    • ‘Honey, you have to keep in mind that his furlough will start when he leaves his ship, not when he gets to San Francisco.’
    • ‘I have just learned that Cousin George has got his furlough extended thirty days.’
    • ‘In October, he was allowed home on a two-week furlough - and refused to go back.’
    • ‘Harrison went home on furlough in 1864 to campaign against pro-Southern Democrats in Indiana.’
    • ‘We went to France for a little furlough as Marty and Grant call it.’
    • ‘It has also promised better treatment of sick soldiers, and has vowed to expand the programme of 15-day furloughs introduced last month - despite the failure of about 30 soldiers to catch their flights back to Iraq.’
    • ‘In 1980, a missionary couple from the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board was declared personae non gratae by the convention, and letters were sent to Richmond requesting that they not return from their furlough.’
    • ‘Uncle Hugh and Auntie Jan went out to Africa as missionaries and used to visit my mother and our family when they were over on furlough.’
    • ‘When Bernard was home on furlough in 1917, they met more than once.’
    • ‘Awards for furloughing missionaries are usually full-tuition grants.’
    • ‘He has never once been granted a furlough - even to attend his mother's funeral.’
    • ‘She received a handful of furloughs, but never traveled farther than back to her home in Alabama until her discharge, which took place at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina.’
    • ‘I had a 10-day furlough from Louisiana, and the trip home took three days each way.’
    • ‘Missionaries interested in furloughing at the Havner House click here to submit an application.’
    • ‘The only restrictions placed on officers granting furloughs limited leaves to no more than thirty days for 5 percent of the unit at one time.’
    • ‘During the 1957-58 academic year, Kelley was on furlough and returned to Southern as visiting professor of Old Testament.’
    • ‘Joseph was home on furlough July through mid-September.’
    break, rest, period of leave, day off, week off, month off, recess, school holiday, half-term
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1US A temporary release of a convict from prison.
      ‘a system that allowed murderers to leave prison for weekend furloughs’
      • ‘The policy of supervising furloughed inmates spread to the southwestern part of the state in 1989.’
      • ‘Some of these rewards included: 8 hour furloughs, conjugal visits, food packages sent in by family, vocational courses, and collegiate level courses were offered.’
      • ‘His revolving door prison policy gave weekend furloughs to first-degree murderers not eligible for parole.’
      • ‘I had to settle for the village butcher, the smithy, and several burly convicts on furlough from the nearby penitentiary.’
      • ‘The officials cited, as officials do, ‘policy,’ in this case a policy that bars furloughs for perpetrators of violent crimes and for inmates who are more than 12 months from parole eligibility.’
      • ‘They received ‘conditional release,’ the equivalent of early release for good behavior, after several one and two-day furloughs in anticipation of discharge.’
      • ‘The governor gave him a prison furlough.’
      • ‘Such men, if they persisted in their resistance, were confined in army camps or imprisoned, except for a small number who were furloughed for civilian work.’
      • ‘The saga about a convict on furlough from prison in Massachusetts sent shivers up the spines of even the most devoted Democrats.’
      • ‘Surely he remembers the controversies over prison furloughs and the death penalty.’
      • ‘That same year the Eagle-Tribune staff won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting on problems in the Massachusetts prison furlough system, and Casey contributed to that coverage.’
    2. 1.2US A layoff, especially a temporary one, from a place of employment.
      • ‘Among the company's most objectionable demands are that workers returning from layoff would receive only 70 percent of their previous wage and that furloughs be substituted for layoffs.’
      • ‘The so-called relief package, however, would not apply to 1,000 white-collar workers, thousands of others who were taking voluntary leaves, or hundreds of pilots and other unionized workers who are to be furloughed in coming weeks.’
      • ‘Following September 11, the airline announced the furlough of approximately 20,000 employees and a 20-percent reduction worldwide in its flight schedule.’
      • ‘Committee members said retirement is a preferred solution to employee furloughs or layoffs.’
      • ‘The bankrupt airline, announced plans to lay off or furlough 350 maintenance and 100 reservations personnel.’
      • ‘Postponed construction projects and furloughs for employees are among the strategies that university leaders have identified for meeting an $18.56 million mid-year budget deappropriation proposed last month by Gov.’
      • ‘The school board had plans to furlough all 12,000 of its school employees for several days, but angry protests by parents and teachers may lead to three or more unpaid days off for 30 top administrators.’
      • ‘An arbitrator halted the second round of furloughs and instituted the trigger point for rehiring laid off workers.’
      • ‘University president Geoffroy announced earlier this month that employee furloughs will not be part of the university's budget-cutting strategy.’
      • ‘The other 380 or so furloughed employees will receive full salary through December 2, and Churchill will continue to pay its share of the employees' medical insurance through December 31.’
      • ‘A five-day furlough would reduce each employee's salary by an estimated 2 percent.’
      • ‘If the state Legislature is unable to come up with cuts during the regular session, furloughing workers will be considered, he said.’
      • ‘The cuts will affect all work groups and will be accomplished through a combination of part-time work schedules, furloughs and permanent layoffs.’


  • 1 Grant a leave of absence to.

    1. 1.1Lay off (workers), especially temporarily.
      ‘President Reagan furloughed “nonessential” employees’
      ‘factories are apt to recall some furloughed workers’
      • ‘Until receiving that guarantee, McCain and Lieberman had held up a vote on a highway bill needed to prevent the furlough on Monday of some 5,000 federal workers and a cutoff of highway money.’
      • ‘An extended winter break shutdown is in the works (although a proposal to require involuntary furloughs has been dropped).’
      • ‘In the hotel industry alone, a minimum of 15,000 to 20,000 jobs have already been eliminated or furloughed.’
      • ‘Earlier this week the pilots union accepted a plan that would allow the company to furlough hundreds of pilots while others would ‘volunteer’ to fly at a 26 percent salary reduction.’
      • ‘Schemes to furlough employees for a couple of weeks, for example, may be a mere inconvenience for faculty, but a major problem for staff who, at low pay, can hardly afford to spend two weeks out of work.’
      • ‘I could find no shirts in my size, because the factories have furloughed workers and suspended operations.’
      • ‘And that would mean another blow to profits, since furloughed auto workers still must be paid.’
      • ‘A year later the company had rehired everyone furloughed and restored the pay scale.’
      • ‘A proposal to furlough employees for four to five unpaid days over winter break has been dropped.’
      • ‘I've been furloughed five times and worked for three airlines that went out of business.’
      • ‘I called Colt's media relations consultant to verify details of this story only to discover that he too had been furloughed.’
      • ‘If the budget cut is severe enough for a particular year, an institution may possibly institute faculty/staff furloughs (usually on a university basis with state approval).’
      • ‘The carrier lost $459 million in the first quarter alone - even after tens of thousands of furloughs, pay cuts and cheaper aircraft lease payments.’
      • ‘Last week the company said it would furlough 2,700 flight attendants starting in January.’
      • ‘Half of the suppliers' 15, 600 workers have either been fired or furloughed since 2000.’
      • ‘Other strategies might be to delay the promised salary increases until Jan.1, 2002, or impose furloughs, at a savings to the university of about $900,000 per day.’
      • ‘Next on the agenda was deciding not to furlough any employees and to protect all employee jobs.’
      • ‘The retail store furloughed a number of employees, including Simmons and Walker, after three years of employment.’
      • ‘Six months later, Brotherton was furloughed and began chasing work from boomtown to boomtown.’
      • ‘That Saturday, September 15, Bethune announced that Continental would furlough 12,000 workers.’
      • ‘Finally, we had no choice but to furlough people (with the understanding that we would bring every associate back as soon as possible).’


Early 17th century: from Dutch verlof, modeled on German Verlaub, of West Germanic origin and related to leave.